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The curse of the ‘B’ word



Just what is a brand? Simple? No, not when you get to hang out in lots of meetings over the years, sit round tables, get to hear people use the ‘B’ word in a million different ways (it seems that way) - and used to express a bewildering array of different things. They can’t all be right, can they?


But it is important to know and understand, (as you crane your neck in to really focus on just what a speaker is getting at) - and as an ‘agency’ chap, to get to understand your company’s place in the world, right?


This uneasy feeling came up again just the other day when reading about the company formally known as prince - sorry - Aberdeen. Looking at the screen in front of me I couldn’t see a brand, all I could see was a name and a logo that had been… well, never mind.



But it was referred to as a brand. I don’t see it. Brand design, then? Well no. I am not being awkward here or splitting hairs. I saw a logo-type and a baffling change to the naming convention. In other words, a change to the visual or corporate identity. Is that a brand? Not the way I understand it. It’s much bigger than that.


A helpful clue is that it sits on the books of a company as an intangible asset. Why? Because it is an amalgamation of every touch point and experience a user has with said company - its product and services. So, it resides in the individual. Terribly hard to pin down. The highly prized visual identity simply triggers this recall.


Surely you build a reputation over years, via the collective endeavours of everyone engaged in the company in ensuring that customers return to it, in preference to competing companies. The unsung heroes, ie, employees that work tirelessly for the company to create relevant, satisfying products and user experience and thus ensuring loyalty. And surely we are loyal because these things benefit our lives? Boom! - branding - right there.


You can charge a lot more for brand creation than graphic design services that’s for sure, but I do wonder if brands aren’t made from the inside-out. Not from the outside-in.




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